|Bill Laswell. Photo courtesy of Cuneiform Records|
Bill Laswell: Bilmawn – Little Village. Akira Sakata: Kagari-Bushi Return, Bill Laswell Remix
(MOD Technologies. Download review by Patrick Hadfield)
Bassist/ producer Bill Laswell is perhaps best known for his production and remix work – he took on Miles Davis’s large back catalogue and created the album Panthalassa. A bold move, but then again, Davis’s work with Teo Macero could also be construed as remixes, the final sound being created at the mixing desk.
The two tracks on this new download release are very different from each other. Kagari-Bushi Return gets a real groove going, mixing rampant jazz saxophone from Akira Sakata, percussion and drumming by Hamid Drake, guitar work by the late Pete Cosey, pretty funky bass by Laswell and folk chanting. It is lively and eclectic, its mixture combining effectively.
The second track, Laswell’s own Bilmawn – Little Village uses guitars and percussion to create an off-kilter, springy number, its rhythms not quite falling into a groove. It is interesting but it doesn’t really go anywhere. I am not sure that either piece benefits from being a stand-alone track: they lack context, feeling incomplete. I certainly wanted to hear more of the collaboration with Sakata.
These two tracks, marketed as “singles”, are available only as digital downloads from Bill Laswell’s own MOD Technologies website. This may be the way music is going: digital access only (and hipsters’ vinyl too, of course!), and the release of single tracks rather than albums, leaving listeners to programme their own listening order.